The Most Beautiful Churches and Cathedrals Around Lake Constance

The church of St. Nikolaus looks out over the medieval town of Überlingen
The church of St. Nikolaus looks out over the medieval town of Überlingen | © Feride-Yalav-Heckeroth
Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

The undulating green landscape that surrounds one of Europe’s largest lakes is dotted with stunning historical structures. The churches around Lake Constance are as beautiful as they are inspiring, and some have even taken their place among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

1. Münster St. Nikolaus


© Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

Located in the very popular seaside town of Überlingen (where the architectural features of a former medieval town meet the trendy restaurants and cafes of the present) is Münster St. Nikolaus, a church that is rather hard to miss. Built between 1350 and 1576, the church’s large tower overlooks Überlingen. The five-aisled basilica is quite stunning, especially the very ornate altars and stained glass windows.

2. Birnau Abbey Church


© Feride Yalav-Heckeroth

This beautiful church sits atop a vineyard and enjoys a fantastic view of Lake Constance (especially of the many colors of the sunset). The light pink hue of the Baroque church is another factor that makes it stand out among the rolling green hills, while the beautiful interior boasts intricate frescoes among gold and marble ornamentation.

3. Salem Monastery and Palace


© Allie_Caulfield / Flickr

Famous for its palace, extensive parks and gardens (as well as its elite boarding school), Schloss Salem also has a beautiful Cistercian monastery. Dating back to the Middle Ages, this monastery enjoyed its place as one of Germany’s most important abbeys. While you’re in the Salem complex, make sure to drop by the Weingut Schloss Salem (Salem Palace Winery), which happens to produce some very delicious Spätburgunder wines.

4. Abbey Cathedral St. Gallen


© Gmelfi / WikiCommons

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, the Abbey of St. Gall is on the Swiss side of Lake Constance and impresses thoroughly with its Baroque beauty that dates back to 719. The abbey used to be one of the chief Benedictine abbeys in Europe, and its library has one of the richest collections of early medieval books.

5. Schussenried Abbey

Church, Monastery

© Andreas Praefcke / WikiCommons

Founded in 1183, the Schussenried Abbey served as a Premonstratensian monastery and gained its Baroque style in the 18th century after being renovated due to damage caused by the Thirty Years’ War. The abbey’s striking features include is a beautiful library with extensive ornamentation and ceiling frescoes completed by by Franz Georg Hermann in 1757. These frescoes depict divine wisdom in the apocalypse, scholarship, education, and craft.

6. Abbey of Reichenau


© Claudia Schillinger / Flickr

Reichanau Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000 because of the Abbey of Reichenau, a beautiful Benedictine abbey founded in 724 by Saint Pirmin who is believed to have fled Spain due to Moorish invasions. The monastery became quite famous in the 10th and 11th centuries for producing some Europe’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts, completed in the abbey’s scriptorium and artist workshops.

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